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Author Topic: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue  (Read 1551 times)

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PenPen

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Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« on: July 31, 2012, 01:21:59 pm »
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So I recently bought Intrigue and put it at my friend's place (the base set had a quite positive reaction to my mostly-casual friends). I took my own copy of the base cards from his home back to mine so I can try it out with my parents and see how they responded (result: pretty good) with the base set (on the recommended first game setup).

Anyway back to my question. I played Intrigue with my friend, and we played a few games. Some cards that require choices came up, like Pawn, Steward, Minion etc. Some more complex cards also appeared, like Bridge. My friend and I played it pretty well, that's because I like to play games, and he can understand the wordy cards well and can formulate a strategy around it (like...getting lots of Saboteurs on his first game and did little to ruin my Duchy-Duke deck on his first try).

After a few games he asked me how we should introduce these cards to our more casual friends who liked the base game, mostly because they don't prefer to use their brains too much. Since the base set is prolly not going to be with Intrigue for a bit, I'm thinking of making a starting kingdom set with Intrigue only cards.

My initial thought is to leave out the choice cards, but maybe put one that doesn't require too much thinking time (Nobles maybe). I suppose I would also throw in an attack card or two from the set, and Secret Chamber too (only because it's the only Reaction card in here). Add Mining Village because it's...vanilla Village plus. I think Coppersmith and Masquerade would be fun cards to be around. Courtyard too. Maybe a slightly more complex card, like Ironworks or Tribute. Or an alternate Victory with Duke for additional variance.

I'd want to avoid Torturer at least until they're more familiar with the game (or put it very far behind).

So maybe this one below:
$2: Courtyard, Secret Chamber
$3: Masquerade, Swindler
$4: Coppersmith, Mining Village, Ironworks
$5: Duke, Tribute
$6: Nobles

Thoughts (or an alt setup)? I think this would work well except for the fact that the whole deck doesn't have additional buys to show the benefit of buying multiple things in a turn. Maybe I should sub Ironworks or Tribute with Baron, but Baron needs to work with Estates...
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Grujah

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Re: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 01:29:14 pm »
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Swindler is too swingy. Someone will get hit hard and hate it.
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philosophyguy

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Re: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 03:08:27 pm »
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Intrigue's a tough one to introduce to brand new players, but if they are familiar with the Base game then you've got lots of reasonable choices.

The rulebook recommends the following sets:
1) Victory Dance: Bridge, Duke, Great Hall, Harem, Ironworks, Masquerade, Nobles, Pawn, Scout, Upgrade
2) Secret Schemes: Conspirator, Harem, Ironworks, Pawn, Saboteur, Shanty Town, Steward, Swindler, Trading Post, Tribute
3) Best Wishes: Coppersmith, Courtyard, Masquerade, Scout, Shanty Town, Steward, Torturer, Trading Post, Upgrade, Wishing Well

It also recommends the following Intrigue+Base sets, for when you finally get to combine the cards:
4) Deconstruction: Bridge, Mining Village, Remodel, Saboteur, Secret Chamber, Spy, Swindler, Thief, Throne Room, Torturer
5) Hand Madness: Bureaucrat, Chancellor, Council Room, Courtyard, Mine, Militia, Minion, Nobles, Steward, Torturer
6) Underlings: Baron, Cellar, Festival, Library, Masquerade, Minion, Nobles, Pawn, Steward, Witch

1 seems solid; no brutal attacks, Masquerade is fun, and the only real AP card is Pawn.
2 also seems good; lots of interesting choices, good trashing options to compensate for the swinginess of Swindler, and no possibility of Saboteur pins.
3 would be a good set after a few games; there is a chance at a Torturer pin but it's fairly weak with only Shanty Town as support, and Masquerade can be a soft counter.

5 would be interesting…with only Nobles for +Actions and Council Room as the only +Buy, the engines are going to be harder to develop. This will be a slow game, but it won't necessarily be a crushing game vs. a heavy BM strat.
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gman314

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Re: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 04:15:11 pm »
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I have twice had the horrible experience of playing an intrigue-heavy set in a six-player game with many new players. The first time was all Intrigue (it was also my introduction to Intrigue) and the following things stand out as really bad ideas for a game with new players (Particularly in a large group):
 - Swindler. Everyone gets one, the game takes a while from the time taken to choose everyone's replacements and then the Trash pile ends up with the highest score. (True story!)
 - Masquerade. Everyone gets one, but no one understands the power or purpose of the card. It just seems weird on first play.
 - Torturer. Even without villages, you can get Tortured multiple times between turns with more than two players.
 - Saboteur. I don't think I actually played with this one in a large game, but it could easily turn people off the game.

Some good cards:
 - Anyone who's played the base game will be a huge fan of the dual-type cards. the recommended set Victory dance is spectacular for playing around with those cards and with the cards which interact with them.
 - Even if they only use it for +1 Card, +1 Action, a lot of new players like Pawn. I don't find it takes too long.
 - Steward gives some good choices and is a fun card to play with.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 04:19:03 pm »
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If you have the Base set available, consider using both together.

I was introduced to Dominion last Christmas when my friends bought me Intrigue.  They already had Base.  I can't remember, but I think the first game I ever played use both of them, and it got me hooked.

None of us really knew what we were doing though.  I lost my first game or two because I kept buying shiny actions (also: Ironworks for more Ironworks!) but I won the last game because I was somehow the only one to recognize the strength of Gardens.

But yeah -- no need to go pure Intrigue.
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Taco Lobster

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Re: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 04:20:02 pm »
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I used Intrigue with some relatively new players (they'd each played 2-3 games), and they loved it.  Intrigue really shines if you have 3-4 players due to all the interactions.
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PenPen

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Re: Easing Casual Players into Intrigue
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 08:36:39 am »
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Thanks everyone.

I think I might go with what philosophyguy said there and try out the recommended kingdom sets. I played Victory Dance on Androminion and it seemed pretty straightforward, even though personally I suck at counting monies with Bridge.

I was originally thinking in my original set, Masquerade would be a soft counter for Swindler if people did the Copper to Curse thing. Anyway, I'll try it out with them and feedback later.

And hopefully get my base set (or if someone agrees in getting an extra base set, hoho!) back so we have more choices to play from.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 08:38:48 am by PenPen »
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